A job in asset management has many advantages, from the challenge of handling investments to the career growth potential of the role. At the heart of the job is the key skill of working out how to make more money from what you already have, whether that belongs to an individual or a company and whether you’re investing it via hedge funds and pension funds or derivatives and futures. So, how do you get started?
Most asset management firms require a finance degree from graduates who are looking for an entry-level role. Although this isn’t a mandatory requirement. An MBA, for example, will always stand you in good stead depending on the role you’re interested in.
While this will depend largely on the role that you’re applying for, asset management positions tend to appeal most to those who enjoy number crunching and analysis. Financial modelling, statistical modelling and forecasting are all an advantage when starting the job – if you haven’t learned these as part of a degree or post grad course, then it’s often worth taking the time to study them. Decision making is crucial in asset management, particularly as you progress. Being able to take swift, well-informed decisions will set you apart from the start.
Although entry-level roles in asset management aren’t that challenging on the people front, as you move further up the business people skills become essential. You may need to manage a team, as well as handling clients and even seeking out new business for the firm.
Choosing the right role for you
A key part of securing a job in asset management is choosing a role that is well matched to your skills and personality, as well as the career trajectory you’re looking to follow. Investment roles start at analyst (buy side or sell side) and then progress to portfolio manager where the investments are directly handled by you. Portfolio managers have plenty of responsibility and make the key decisions about investment. Distribution roles cover a wide range of other positions, including product development, marketing, client service and sales – all of these positions focus on the end goal of selling the fund manager’s services and ensuring clients are happy. Key differences in these roles make some more appealing than others – for example, analysts tend to be good with numbers while marketing professionals enjoy working more with words.
Finding the right role in asset management could mean the start of a long and fruitful career. A good degree, honing essential skills and identifying a position that’s a good fit will all help to get you on the right road.